Gion is a historical area in Kyoto that IMHO, serves as one of the most iconic representative of Japanese culture.
“ Gion (祇園?, ぎおん[note 1]) is a district of Kyoto, Japan, originally developed in the Middle Ages, in front of Yasaka Shrine. The district was built to accommodate the needs of travellers and visitors to the shrine. It eventually evolved to become one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in all of Japan.”
Gion is famous for it’s large amount of traditional wooden houses (Machiya) which so embodies the image of traditional Japanese architecture. Gion has evolved into a highly prosperous district that is filled with restaurants, shops and Teahouses. Most notably, is the Hanami-Koiji street where there is the highest concentration of Ochaya (teahouses) and where the Geishas receives and entertain guests.
“ The most popular area of Gion is Hanami-koji Street from Shijo Avenue to Kenninji Temple. A nice (and expensive) place to dine, the street and its side alleys are lined with preserved machiya houses many of which now function as restaurants, serving Kyoto style kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine) and other types of local and international meals.